Sequel to Spruill's Rulers of Darkness (1995), a fresh medical suspense/horror novel and the start of a new series about hemophages (bloodeaters) in the District of Columbia. Again, Spruill gives himself a hospital setting to work with- -though the various medical analyses of vampire blood and other occult arcana, touched on in that earlier novel, are unsurprising. Nor does the plot leap forward as electrically as in Rulers. With historical background no longer new, the story focuses now on a 500-year-old hemophage's revenge on his father, himself a thousand-year-old bloodeater. Ten years have passed since the action in Rulers. D.C. homicide detective Merrick Chapman has retired, having married hematologist Katie O'Keefe and fathered a nonhemophagic son with her. Several hundred years before, Merrick turned on his kind and began locking fellow vampires up in vaults from which they could not escape and in which they eventually starved to death. To help locate bloodthirsty hemophages, who disguise their trails, Merrick turned to law enforcement and became adept at picking out vampiric victims from other homicides. His greatest enemy now is his son Zane, who refuses to be turned from vampirism. Ten years ago, Merrick confined Zane in an escape-proof vault, where he should have died after two years without feeding. But in some mysterious manner Zane has now escaped and is out to return his daughter, Jenny Hrluska, to the bloodlust natural to her. Jenny, however, now 22 and the youngest intern ever at Adams Memorial, wants to save lives, not take them. She sides with her grandfather Merrick, who hopes to die a normal death along with his wife Katie (he has watched 16 wives and 43 children grow old and die). But then Zane commits a murder attributed to Jenny, trying to force her back into the fold and to lure his father to his destruction. Less energy and richly layered excitement than before, but still notable in its field.

Pub Date: June 7, 1997

ISBN: 0-385-48432-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet